Hosting a content webinar is a great way of sharing your company’s subject matter expertise with the world and at the same time showcase your brand as a knowledge hub. You can meet with lots of people from different parts of the country or even different parts of the world in a semi-relaxed way and share knowledge and inspiration through voice, audio, visual presentations and video.
For the participant; accepting a content webinar invitation and joining your webinar for an hour is an easy and non-committal way of getting the lay of the land, pick up the latest industry trends or maybe new product knowledge. But where to start if you have never produced a webinar before?
Don’t sweat. Here’s a quick guide that will help you design a winning content webinar:
- First of all: Define your purpose and your audience
Why do you want to host a content webinar? Are you hoping to drum up leads to sell that awesome software of yours or are you trying to establish your brand as a subject matter expert in your industry? Secondly, who’s your audience? Are you inviting decision makers and senior managers or are you inviting IT experts? These are important questions to address before you proceed, as this will influence the level of complexity of your content webinar. Broad strokes and strategic vs. in depth and geeky, basically.
- Gather and prepare your content
Now that you know why you are hosting your webinar and who you are targeting, it’s time to start preparing your content. Start by building a slide deck in PowerPoint or another presentation software and include the following slides:
- A front page slide with the title of your webinar
- An agenda slide
- A presentation slide where you introduce yourself and your company
- A housekeeping slide where you talk about handouts and how questions will be managed during the webinar
- A set of content slides with ‘the meaty stuff’ for your webinar. 2-3 minutes worth of talk track per slide is a good rule of thumb
- A summary slide with a few next steps or resources for additional information
- A thank you slide with your contact details or links to your website and social media handles
- Include proof
Data and statistics will give your content credibility. If your company has done surveys or collected data on your topic, use it to back up statements that you are planning to make or trends that you are presenting. If you don’t have any of your own data available, finding credible external sources to back up your claims is also a good way of becoming a well-rounded subject matter expert. Using external data also shows your audience that you are not just honking your own horn and that you’ve done actual research on the topic.
- Kill your darlings
When you are passionate about a topic there’s so much you want to say, but remember; you only have a small window of time with your participants and an even smaller span of attention, so make it count. Review your content and try to prioritize – what is most important for you to communicate and where can you cut the fat? What do you think your target audience is most interested in hearing? Remember: Content marketing is about them, not you.
- Get someone else’s perspective
A good practice is to include someone in the creative process that is likely to have a different perspective on the topic than your own. This will help make your webinar well-rounded and at the same time, you can get help with simplifying your lingo or even spot internal jargon that maybe your audience wouldn’t understand.So, if you are in marketing, you could, for example, include a Solutions Architect (whom will most likely be able to provide a great technical perspective and has lot of client-facing experience) – and if you are the Solutions Architect, include someone from marketing to get a marketer’s perspective on what USPs to include or maybe a sanity check on how technical the webinar content should really be.
- Tone down the sales-y
When you get the opportunity to be in front of a captive audience it’s easy to get the itch and push too hard for your own product’s awesome features and by doing so, come across as too sales-y. Keep in mind that it is content marketing we are talking about here and again: Content marketing is about them, not you. Your audience will get in touch with you after your webinar if they think you seem like a good partner and an industry expert, don’t worry. But if you lure them into a ‘knowledge webinar’ and instead blatantly try and hawk your products on them – they’ll feel tricked and will most likely never come back.
- Roleplay, gather feedback, rinse and repeat
When you are happy with your webinar content, it’s time for practice. You know what they say – practice makes perfect and by practicing and role playing the webinar with a colleague, you can spot things that don’t make sense to the listener, get feedback on tonality that doesn’t carry your message properly or help with your flow throughout your presentation. Ask for feedback and be open to taking it onboard. Once you’ve done a dry run with a colleague – go back, tweak and repeat. This process will help you feel much more confident in your material when it’s time for the real deal.
Last but not least: Take a chapter from the webinar pros
A great way to get inspiration for your webinar presentation and tips on how to run your webinar is to listen in to other webinars. The team at Content Management Institute run webinars on a regular basis and they do it really well.